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Israel, US slam UN envoy over antisemitic comments

Francesca Albanese’s “blatant antisemitic rhetoric” is “simply unacceptable,” says U.S. antisemitism envoy.

Francesca Albanese, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories. Credit: UNHRC.
Francesca Albanese, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories. Credit: UNHRC.

Israel and the United States on Wednesday slammed United Nations envoy Francesca Albanese over antisemitic statements she made in 2014 that recently resurfaced.

Albanese, the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, asserted that the “Jewish lobby” controlled the United States, and compared Israelis to Nazis.

She also sympathized with terror organizations, dismissed Israel’s security concerns and accused the Jewish state of potential war crimes, according to The Times of Israel, which broke the story on Wednesday.

In the first pic a Nazi soldier, a dog, and a man on the ground – who is a Jew. In the second pic an Israeli soldier, a dog, and a man on the ground – who is a Palestinian.

Posted by Acsecnarf Albanese on Sunday, November 29, 2015

“Antisemitism is a persistent malice that has infected the United Nations Human Rights Council for far too long. Comments made by UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese that surfaced today are yet another stain on the credibility of this body and yet another example of the impunity that exists today regarding antisemitism and antisemitic comments made by UN officials,” the Israeli Mission to the U.N. in Geneva said in a statement.

“It is about time that the United Nations take concrete action in addressing systemic antisemitism within the United Nations Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. The lack of accountability and impunity for comments made by UN officials only works to legitimize antisemitism and endangers the Jewish people,” the statement added.

U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Ambassador Michèle Taylor, likewise denounced Albanese, writing on Twitter, “We are appalled by recently uncovered antisemitic remarks on social media made by a UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur before taking on the role. References to the ‘Jewish Lobby’ are an age-old trope; this is outrageous, inappropriate, corrosive, & degrades the value of the UN.”

Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, similarly wrote on Twitter: “Such blatant antisemitic rhetoric—particularly when it’s an established pattern—is simply unacceptable. It severely undermines the credibility of the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur to deal with the issue of human rights in the context of Israel & the Palestinian territories.”

While Albanese has not directly addressed the report, she told TOI last week that, “Some of the words I used, during Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2014, were infelicitous, analytically inaccurate and unintendedly offensive. People make mistakes. I distance myself from these words, which I would not use today.”

Albanese was referring to a July 31, 2014 Facebook post in which she wrote: “America and Europe, one of them subjugated by the Jewish lobby, and the other by the sense of guilt about the Holocaust, remain on the sidelines and continue to condemn the oppressed—the Palestinians—who defend themselves with the only means they have … instead of making Israel face its international law responsibilities.”

Last month, Albanese spoke at a conference in Gaza attended by senior members of the U.S.- and E.U.-designated terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In her speech, translated into Arabic in real time, Albanese told the crowd: “You have a right to resist this [Israeli] occupation.”

In a June 9 interview with the Italian magazine Altreconomia, Albanese claimed that “Israel says ‘resistance equals terrorism,’ but an occupation requires violence and generates violence,” adding that the “Palestinians have no other room for dissent than violence.”

Albanese also repeated long-running accusations of Israeli apartheid and suggested that Israelis holding dual citizenship could be tried for crimes in the countries of their secondary citizenship if they live in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, or any other location deemed “occupied Palestinian territory.”

Albanese, a lawyer, also told an Italian national television station in May that “Palestinian violence is inevitable because the right to exist of the Palestinian people has been denied for 55 years—almost three generations.”

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